Civil Society Groups Call For Commission On Globalisation
Civil Society Groups Call For Commission On Globalisation Website
Civil society groups have called for the establishment of a new commission on Globalisation and Development Strategies within the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In a declaration presented at the opening plenary of the Committee of the Whole, civil society groups also asked that the policy space mandate of UNCTAD be expanded. "We believe UNCTAD has a unique role, especially in these uncertain times. Its role as a support to developing countries in development issues and processes must be expanded," the declaration presented by Jane Nalunga, a member of Africa Trade Network, on behalf of the civil society groups, said. At the same time, UNCTAD should also focus its work on topical issues affecting the world, including the food crisis; finance and development; climate change; migration; trade agreements; intellectual property and South-South cooperation. "It must give us the development perspective and the way forward on these issues," the declaration said. The declaration also stressed the need for UNCTAD's technical assistance to be purely driven by the needs of recipients including civil society and not donors. "It should for instance not be limited to implementing World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, but also creatively explore alternatives in a fast changing world. "The UNCTAD Secretariat must be allowed to continue its research in an independent manner, so that it can produce objective research aimed at supporting development goals of developing countries. This will also add to diversity of views among the international agencies." On globalization, the civil society said it has led to an era of growing inequalities and great global instability. "The opposite poles of wealth and poverty reinforce each other with every new manifestation of the flaws of the system." It pointed to the massive losses estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at almost US$1,000 billion arising from the global financial and food crisis. "We want the governments and the UNCTAD XII to take action now on these two crises. The financial institutions and speculators must be regulated. So too the global financial system that promotes the free flow of capital, including speculative funds and activities." The declaration lauded UNCTAD Secretariat for its great work on finance and said if its advice had been followed there might not have been such a crisis today. UNCTAD XII must encourage it to expand its finance work and the Secretariat must study how developing countries would be affected by the fallout of the financial crisis; what they can do about it; and how to overhaul the global financial architecture, so that finance serves the needs not of speculators but the goals of development, jobs and income, with environmental sustainability and gender equality. While attributing the food crisis mainly to supply not meeting increased demand, the declaration also asked for a reverse of the shift from producing food to bio-fuels.